Aligned with the national government’s commitment of ensuring all Filipinos enjoy the benefits of sound telecommunications services vis-a-vis protecting consumer rights, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) recently (20 December 2017) signed a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) to amend NTC’s Memorandum Circular No. 03-07-2009 or the Guidelines on Prepaid Loads. The amended guidelines now extend the expiration date of all prepaid loads of ICT providers and public telecommunications entities to one year from the date of top-up. Such move affords subscribers more time to use their prepaid loads. Exclusion to this coverage will only be limited to those prepaid loads purchased for promotions and other services with a specific period of use, as approved by DTI and NTC.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez shared before DICT OIC-Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. & NTC Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba the importance of better protecting the rights of Filipinos as consumers given the existing 130 million cellphone users, higher than the 75.57 million subscribers back in 2009. By extending the validity of prepaid loads, a consumer will have more flexibility in using telecommunication services based on one’s own needs and requirements. This is particularly essential for MSMEs as they can do business more easily, whether by making calls or sending an SMS to their customers, or by accessing the internet to conduct e-commerce. Maximizing access amd usage of telecommunication services develop greater opportunities, generating a more inclusive development for all especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Moreover, Sec. Lopez highlighted that such move is part of President Duterte’s goal of developing truly beneficial programs for the Filipino people.♦